thread: Funerals - Is 4 too young??

  1. #1
    Registered User

    Jun 2005

    Funerals - Is 4 too young??

    DH's grandmother passed away on Friday and we have to make the tough descion about whether to let Gabriella attend the funeral and burial this Friday. Alex is definitely not going as he is more of a distraction then anything.

    Bit of background - Baba (the grandmother) was quite young, only 70 and was a very fit acn active woman who was a big part of our lives. She wasnt someone we only saw once a month, it was more like a couple of times a week. SHe had a stroke a couple of weeks ago and Gaby went to the hospital with us almost daily to see her and even tho she was unconcious Gaby was still kissing her, stroking her and talking to her. We are always open with Gaby so she knew how sick Baba was and that she was going to die.

    So the big question is do we take her to the funeral or not? Some people are saying no she shouldnt be exposed to all the crying (the family is extremely close and I will be very surprised if DH's mother will even be able to stand at the burial cause she is so in shock) and that seeing the coffin go into the ground could be traumatic for her. I am of the belief that this will be closure for her and it will help her to understand better that Baba really isnt coming back. What do you all think?

    Another thing the funeral is going to be huge, she was well respected and loved within her community and we are expecting around 500 people - so maybe that would be too overwhelming?? Oh I dont know, it is all too hard atm. Any advice would be appreciated?

  2. #2

    I would say no it isn't too young. Kameron went to his first funeral when I was 6wks pregnant with Lachlan. So he would have not long turned 2. He didn't play up or anything.


  3. #3
    Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

    Jan 2005
    Funky Town, Vic

    I would be inclined to say - yeah let her go. I'm not sure if she would be traumatised by the crying etc, it may be part of the cycle for her to witness and absorb. I dunno about the coffin lowered into the ground thing though - it may be a little to hard for her to understand but you would be the best judge of that.
    You can always skip the graveside service and straight to the wake - it may give her time to debrief to you before the next stage.

    I think it would be lovely for all those attending to be able to see Gabby running around, I'm sure her Baba told everyone she knew all the Gabby stories, and flashed photos everywhere.
    If there is 500 people there, in years to come Gabby will remember how many people came to say goodbye to Baba. I bet she'll take it all in her stride and make some people smile on a sad day.

    I hope your coping ok. xoxoxox

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Oct 2006
    Sydney NSW

    I would take her, my mum died when Erin was just over 2 and she really wanted her at the funeral, she even made the minister say at the start of the service that Erin was there at her request and was to be allowed to move around as she pleased and no one was to take her out. (my mum was very organised even about dying!)

  5. #5
    slyder Guest

    At age 4 she's old enough to get an inkling about what's going on, and like you say it will help her understand to some extent that her great grandmother wont be coming back. I'd just recommend giving her lots of love and talking it over with her and explaining what is happening, You probably don't want her filling the gaps with wild thoughts.

  6. #6
    Registered User

    Jun 2007
    Melbourne, ready to meet peeps IRL

    I would take her when DH's dad died I took both a 5yrs old and 2yr old as it was there grandfather as this was family who your DD got to know she should go let her understand that mummy and daddy will be sad for a little bit but then as with most wakes it always full of good and happy thoughts so she wont see you sad all day iykwim maybe take her for a walk to the back when it comes to the lowering of the coffen as thats something that might confues a little girl..or give nightmares.

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Dec 2005

    i havent had any experience in this but i dont think i would take her. i think it would be very overwhelming to see everyone so upset and she might get a little scared. maybe there is some other sort of ceremony that you could think of to have which will not shield her completely from understanding death but i dont know about going to a funeral. just my opinion of course.

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Jun 2006
    In the middle of Pink and Blue!!!

    Yeah i agree with hollo and i think i would want her last memories be happy ones of your loved one. Just my opinion though. Sorry for your loss.


  9. #9
    Registered User
    Add Rach75 on Facebook

    Oct 2005
    Moura, QLD, Australia

    when my grandmum passed away in july my sister took her oldest 8 to the veiwing so he could say goodbye he was extremely emotional about his GG dieing even though she had been unwell, he coped extremely well, when we went out to the car her not quite 4 year old had guessed where we were and wanted to say goodbye, he coped the best out of all of us, he told her he loved and her and said goodbye, all boys my 10mth old, her nealry 2yr nealry 4yr and just 8yr old went to funeral, her boys didn't come to the burial, but did wave goodbye to the hurse as it paused outside grandmums house (on route to cemetary)

    anyway long story short funeral yes, burial not so much

    :hugs: to you and your family

  10. #10
    2013 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.

    May 2007

    I remember when I was young, maybe 7 or 8, and my greatgrandma died. We were very close, and I was devastated, but I wasn't allowed to go the the funeral, and its something I am still sad about to this day. I wanted to say goodbye - I had been to visit while she was sick, and then so just disappeared and even though I was a bit older, I felt it was important for me to say goodbye, I just never got to do that. I would say yes, allow her to go to the funeral. You could remind her that all these people loved her Baba too, and even though she is gone now, everyone is there to remember and be happy that Baba had such a wonderful life.

    I probably would skip the burial, I think thats defianately the most emotional time for most, some people get hysterical and it may scare her!

  11. #11
    Registered User

    Dec 2005
    Home of the Winery Walkabout!

    When my grandfather died in 2002, I took my 4 children to the funeral and the burial (I only had 4 at that stage).Lizzie was 4 mths, Tim was 23 mths, Kate was 3 and Jack was 6, they were all very close to their grandfather and they all had a special job to do and that was to comfort us.
    I found that the funeral was boring for them because they couldn't move around, but my dad thankfully took the youngest two outside so that I could concentrate.
    We had organized with the priest that they had a special part at the burial. What they did was, they played the Collingwood theme song one last time for him and sang with it so he could hear them. It dosen't seem much but it had us all in tears and I found that it helped us express our grief.

    Hope that helps, try to see if there is anything that Gabby can do as her special part in the ceremony.

  12. #12
    Life Subscriber

    Jul 2006

    I agree that she should go. I think it is all part of learning about death and grief, and that it would be more distressing for her to be excluded from it.

    Mrsmac, what a beautiful story. Your mum must have been a very special person.

  13. #13
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    May 2005
    in the national capital

    I would agree with most people and say let her go. Not only for her but also for everyone else. Having kids abotu reminds everyone that life goes on and kids inevitably do cute things that lift the mood a little.

    I would also sit down before hand and have a chat to her about how you will all be very sad and that maybe some people will cry because they are sad that they won't see Baba again. Maybe give her a spacial "job" like hugging you if you cry or singing in the songs or something similar.

    I think that there is no problem with the graveside so long as you are comfortable with it. Kids feed off our emotions and if it is OK with you she should be fine about it.

    Very sorry for your loss - she sounds like a really special lady.

  14. #14
    Registered User

    Jun 2005

    Thanks everyone for your advice and your stories too - I think at this stage we are going to take Gaby to the funeral but not to the burial. I think that way she will get a bit of a sense of what is going on but hopefully wont witness any hysterics or get freaked out by the coffin being buried. It is such a hard descion to make.

  15. #15
    Registered User

    Mar 2006

    I took my eldest to his G grandma's funeral when he was 18 months old and if anything it lightened the day. As your daughter was so close I think it would do her good to say goodbye and I'm sure your family will support you in your decision. It will probably help to talk to your daughter about saying goodbye and maybe encourage her to draw a picture or make something that she can 'give' to her G Grandma on the day. My little one had done some handprints on card so we put one on the coffin for Nana. I think you are doing the right thing by letting your daughter attend the funeral service. Good luck

  16. #16
    Registered User

    Jan 2005
    sunshine coast

    i dont think she is too young esp since it sounds like she was close - just try & prepare her a bit for what it is all about - i will never forget my grandfathers funeral when my then 4 year old nephew in a quite spot in the ceremony asked why papa was in a box & sitting in his chair - we didnt know to laugh or cry

  17. #17
    Registered User

    Dec 2005
    In Bankworld with Barbara

    If it is family, then definately. Lindsay was not yet 2 when my nan passed away and he went to both the service and the burial. I think it gives them a better understanding of the concept of death being final and it also gives them a chance to say goodbye. All of Nan's grandkids had a single white rose each to place on the coffin as it was being lowered and Lindsay put his on there and said goodbye and it broke your heart to see it but he felt so important doing it.

    I think being close family that she will be shielded from the grief of the other mourners by being at the front of the church kwim? Besides, 4yo's are more attuned to things than you think they are and I think you have to give them credit for that.

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Member
    Add Tobily on Facebook

    May 2004

    I don't think she's too young - I don't think it's so much about what she sees or experiences per se, as it is about how you as her parents help her to understand and deal with it.

    Taking a four year old to a funeral where everyone is visibly upset and seeing the coffin being buried and then not talking to her about it or giving her any way to deal with it is obviously not wise but you don't sound like the type of parent to leave her hanging like that.

    I think it's really important that we talk to our children about death, it's as much a part of life as birth and they need to know about it. It's all in the way we handle it ourselves, that's what kids respond to.

    I'm sure you'll make the right decision for your little girl, and I'm very sorry for the loss your family is suffering :hugs:


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